Cutting The Cable TV Cord

Cutting The Cable TV Cord

Posted by on Dec 28, 2013 in Dalies |

Thinking about cutting the cord? So what’s stopping you? Are tied to certain programming only available on cable? Or do you find that you really only watch a few programs from only a few different stations? We cut the cord over five years ago and haven’t regretted it yet. Yes, we still watch television, but we either get our programming from streaming sources online, or purchase disc sets from Amazon. For much of the “need to know” programming, the free, over-the-air channels still work well. But most of our programming now comes from Netflix and Amazon Prime – and really, both have the same content available for about the same price. Netflix has started to introduce more original programming. With Amazon Prime you get free two-day shipping. And both offer 30 days free trials. Some of our content is from YouTube (yes, quality shows can be found on YouTube), and some miscellaneous streaming sources from over-seas. Cable companies are starting to realize the masses are changing their viewing habit. Many cable companies are thinking about changing the model from the pay for bundled TV programming to becoming multi-channel video programming distributors (MVPDs). Basically means, these cable companies are looking to distribute content programming like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and others. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, yeah, it’s great for the end-consumer, but will reduce the money cable distributors make. So great for us, not so great for them. This will also create greater competition to supply content at a cheaper price (or will it?). For now, cable companies aren’t worried about losing money to cable cutters. In fact, may cable cutters that still use cable for their internet service still get basic cable services for free, simply because it’s oft times cheaper to leave the service on than to pay for an installer to go out and install a filter which blocks the TV channels. Plus, having TV subscribers look better on the bottom line rather than showing the increase number of Internet only cable subscribers. Strange, huh? We all want content, but we just don’t want to pay for 499 channels we don’t watch just so we can see that 1 channel. So as a consumer would you be willing to pay more for that one channel with content you want to see? And when you figure in the cost, you’ll find you will pay less for the programming you want to view, than getting that monthly cable bill. Most cable subscribers pay an average of $720 per year in the U.S. for some 180 channels. The average viewer may watch programming from 15 to 20 of those channels. For great programming from a variety of streaming sources, you would most certainly pay less. Even sports fans can find MLB and NFL related content online. You’ll may still have to use over-the-air broadcast to catch that live up...

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New Low-Bandwidth Video Coding Standard

New Low-Bandwidth Video Coding Standard

Posted by on Nov 28, 2013 in Dalies |

With the increase in HD video resolution, the bandwidth required to deliver these better quality images increases as well. Think of it as trying to shove a watermelon down a garden hose. Short of having TARDIS technology where the inside of the pipe is bigger than the outside, there is only so much room to push that watermelon through. And with 4K video now making its way to mainstream that watermelon is even bigger. Compression techniques are used to deliver the same quality and use a smaller pipe to get that information to you more quickly. So find some efficient way to make that watermelon small enough to fit down that garden hose, but give it back to you in its full beauty is a real challenge. Most all compression is “lossy” and must sacrifice something to send all that additional information. That’s why many of your cable, satellite broadcast, Internet, etc. videos may not look as clean as the original source – they compress all the flavor out of that watermelon. The video and audio has been compressed a lotso it’ll fix down the pipe available. And with most broadband providers putting caps on how much you can receive in any given day, that pipe is getting smaller, too. Fortunately the guys and gals at the International Television Union (ITU – the standards creators) look at all this stuff and come up with a new High Efficiency Video Coding standard (HEVC) which is designed to deliver high-quality, low-bandwidth video. It’s this new HEVC/H.265 standard that is touted as needing ½ as much bandwidth as the current H.264 standard. That’s the good news. However, it will take a several years to get this new standard into all the places that create the content you view. The cable company, for example, is still trying to get out of the even older standard MPEG-2 (lots more compression and “lossy”) equipment. Expect the Internet to more quickly adopt this new standard since more-and-more content delivery is moving to the web. Especially if you consider that NetFlix, which showed off 4K delivery at CES, will need to get that 4K image into your home will require some new and improved compression like mentioned...

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Come On and Zoom, Zoom, Zoom On Zoom…

Come On and Zoom, Zoom, Zoom On Zoom…

Posted by on Aug 11, 2013 in Dalies |

Whether to zoom or not to zoom when shooting your masterpiece. That is the question often a Videographer or Director of Photography must ask when out shooting that masterpiece project. Most film schools have always taught one to use prime lenses only and to never zoom. Sure, a zoom lens has its place – doing a slow push in or out of a scene, but what about using that zoom as a variable prime? Zoom lenses have had a bad rap for a long time, but zoom lenses today, even stock zooms on the most inexpensive camera have improved greatly over the parent predecessor. Top professional movie DPs will even use a zoom lens in their shooting over a prime. (Ridley Scott for example – “Alien”, “Blade Runner”, “Legend”, etc.) A zoom lens can be a great tool you can use to change your shot without having to move everything just to get that perfect framing. If one watches the image closely and tests the limits of the lens, one can find the sweet range of the zoom and live within those constraints to get the best picture possible for every shot without having to resort to only prime shooting. Today’s zooms are sharp, fast and can be a fast way to get that framing for a great shot – especially when it’s not practical to strike and move everything to the “perfect spot”. So get out there and...

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Still stuck in an old editing package like Final Cut Pro 7?

Still stuck in an old editing package like Final Cut Pro 7?

Posted by on Aug 11, 2013 in Dalies |

Are you still hanging on to Final Cut Pro 7? Should you consider using Final Cut X, or switch to Premiere, or something else? Really the answer boils down to: “Which editing software is best for you, your clients, and your end product.” But if you are still undecided, read on. There are still a number of editors that still use Final Cut Pro 7. Apples launch of FP X left a bitter taste in early adopter’s mouths. Sure, if you upgrade to FP X there will be a steep learning curve, and it will be difficult to convert those FCP 7 projects into X. But that would be true of most all software packages. FCP 7 is no longer sold by Apple, it is a 32-bit application and the system it runs on can’t be upgraded to the latest Operating System. So switching to something else is really a requirement. Adobe’s Premiere is a cross platform 64-bit application, works with many GPUs and multiple processors, has a familiar look to FCP 7 users and will easily import FCP 7’s XML files. It also is fully integrated with After Effects, Photoshop, Encore and more. So why wouldn’t one switch to Premiere? Final Cut X has finally caught up and is getting better every day. Sure, it has an interface similar to iMovie and nothing like other editors, but it is designed to be more fun and appealing to new editors on the scene, not to appease some editor who has been working with some old package like FPC 7 for years. So should you take the plunge and jump into Final Cut X or Premiere or something else? Well, that depends. It really does boil down to what package is best for the media you need to create. Your first project in this new sofware is going to be painful, but you will learn the ins and outs over time. The line between “professional” editor and “casual” editor are becoming more of a blur with content being created and edited from every device on the planet, now. If you use After Effects, Photoshop and other Adobe product a lot, and want an interface that is more in tune with FCP 7, then Premiere is probably the better choice. If you are just working on your home movies and posting that next hot cat video to Facebook, then sticking with what you have may still be your best choice. Try out the different packages – most offer trial version. Read testimonials, look at what others creating content similar to yours are using. If not known, then ask the creator if they will share some insight. Find software that works best for your content at your price and best for your audience....

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20 new 4K cameras to hit the market before NAB

20 new 4K cameras to hit the market before NAB

Posted by on Aug 10, 2013 in Dalies |

Atomos, based in Melbourne, Australia designs and manufactures low-cost external recorders that can also be used as field monitors, as well as a range of portable, battery powered signal format converters. Fluent in Japanese, Young liaises with and maintains a close relationship with camera makers. And although he was unable to give any specific details because of strict non-disclosure agreements, he did comment that “90% of filmmakers are still recording in HD, and will continue to do so for at least two years.” Plans for 4K The Atomos CEO told us that they do have well-advanced plans for a 4K device which “will be a world-beater” but that they are waiting for a greater uptake of 4K generally before they complete and release it. “We think its better to wait and produce a device that is perfect for a more mature market than to release something now, while there are so many things still to be settled in the 4K arena” Atomos recently introduced its Samurai Blade combined recorder/monitor that includes waveform monitoring and what Atomos are touting as a  SuperAtom 5″ 1280 x 720 325ppi IPS touchscreen. We’ll be carrying a full review of this in the next few weeks. External Recording When the original Atomos Ninja recorder first shipped in 2011, there were no video-capable DSLRs that offered a “clean” HDMI output, severely reducing the potential market for external recorders. Young was instrumental in persuading the camera manufacturers to clean up their outputs and make an external recording workflow viable. This year, the popular Canon EOS 5D mk III received a firmware update to allow external recording. External recorders work by taking the uncompressed video sent through of the HDMI or SDI output on a camera and recording it to on-board storage either compressed (usually Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHD) or uncompressed. Uncompressed recording offers no degradation in the signal and the Apple and Avid codecs are “visually lossless” at their higher available bitrates, which means that material that is stored on an external recorder is higher quality than the typically more heavily compressed material that is stored on the camera itself. The other advantage of using these “edit-friendly” formats is that they can be imported directly onto a timeline without any transcoding. Since each frame is compressed individually, without reference to any others, the material is in an ideal form for editing, since the NLE software and the workstation hardware does not have to waste valuable cycles re-creating specific frames from the surrounding material. In practise this normally means that more streams (layers) of video can be edited in real time, and the whole editing process is more...

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